The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made it official: the June 22, 2018, deadline for the “medical certification integration” process has been delayed.
The deadline was supposed to streamline the way medical certification information for commercial drivers’ license (CDL) holders gets transmitted and stored.
Now the FMCSA says most of those changes will be delayed until June 22, 2021. This means, in part, that CDL holders will need to continue giving their paper medical cards to state licensing agencies.
The delay was necessary because neither the licensing agencies nor FMCSA were able to prepare their computer infrastructure in time to deal with the new process. State driver licensing agencies need to be able to receive electronic medical certification information from the FMCSA, and the FMCSA needs to fix its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, which has been offline since December.
The original deadline was part of the FMCSA’s “Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration” rule issued in 2015, and appears in 49 CFR sections 391.23, 391.41, and 391.43, among others.
One change will still be taking place on the original June 22, 2018, deadline — or at least as soon as the FMCSA fixes its National Registry website. Medical examiners will need to upload results of all completed drivers’ medical exams to the FMCSA by midnight (local time) of the next calendar day, rather than monthly.
What it means
As a result of the delay, the following procedures will remain in place through June 21, 2021:
- CDL and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders must continue to provide their medical certificates to their state licensing agencies and must continue to carry a copy of their medical certificates for at least 15 days after receipt.
- Motor carriers must continue to verify that their CDL/CLP drivers were certified by someone listed on the National Registry, and must continue to obtain updated driving records (MVRs) within 15 days after their CDL/CLP drivers undergo new DOT medical exams.
- Medical examiners must continue issuing paper medical certificates to CDL/CLP drivers.
- State licensing agencies must continue to manually process paper copies of medical certificates provided by CDL/CLP drivers, and must update its MVRs within 10 days after receiving drivers’ medical cards.
After the new 2021 deadline, CDL/CLP drivers will not receive paper medical cards. Instead, their medical certification information will be forwarded electronically from the examiner to the FMCSA and then on to the state licensing agency. Enforcement officials will then have immediate access to a driver’s certification status through the electronic CDL licensing database.
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